Unlearning: From Degrowth to Decolonization

In Unlearning: From Degrowth to Decolonization, Jamie Tyberg makes a timely intervention into the degrowth discussions, reorienting degrowth as a means to an end, that end being decolonization. Through the lens of the Green New Deal, and later the Red Deal, Tyberg ties together theory and real life examples highlighting how degrowth is, can, and must be, part of the post-COVID-19 response. Both an overview and review of the degrowth literature and an analysis of how degrowth can be utilized critically, Tyberg instructs us how we can use degrowth principles to strive and push for a true decolonized future, one we need to achieve.

(Abstract by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung)

Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse

Overview:

This study considers the relationship between a global systemic banking, monetary and solvency crisis and its implications for the real-time flow of goods and services in the globalised economy. It outlines how contagion in the financial system could set off semi-autonomous contagion in supply-chains globally, even where buyers and sellers are linked by solvency, sound money and bank intermediation. The cross-contagion between the financial system and trade/production networks is mutually reinforcing.

It is argued that in order to understand systemic risk in the globalised economy, account must be taken of how growing complexity (interconnectedness, interdependence and the speed of processes), the de-localisation of production and concentration within key pillars of the globalised economy have magnified global vulnerability and opened up the possibility of a rapid and large-scale collapse. ‘Collapse’ in this sense means the irreversible loss of socio-economic complexity which fundamentally transforms the nature of the economy. These crucial issues have not been recognised by policy-makers nor are they reflected in economic thinking or modelling.

This study draws upon simple ideas drawn from ecology, systems dynamics, and the study of complex networks to frame the discussion of the globalised economy. Real-life events such as United Kingdom fuel blockades (2000) and the Japanese Tsunami (2011) are used to shed light on modern trade vulnerability.

Triumph der Ungerechtigkeit: Wie wir Steueroasen und Steuerdumping beenden können

Mitschnitt der 36. Ausgabe von Europe Calling, dem europäischen Online-Diskussionsformat von Sven Giegold MdEP. Thema war am 27.2.2020: “Triumph der Ungerechtigkeit: Wie wir Steueroasen und Steuerdumping beenden können” mit Star-Ökonom und Autor Gabriel Zucman und EU-Steuerexpertin Catherine Olier. Moderation von Sven Giegold MEP.

Recording of the 36th session of Europe Calling, the European Online-Discussion Format by Sven Giegold MEP. On 27 Feb 2020 the topic was: “The Triumph of Injustice: How we can end tax havens and tax dumping” with star economist and author Gabriel Zucman und EU tax expert Catherine Olier. Moderated by Sven Giegold MEP.

Editorial – Deep Restoration: from The Great Implosion to The Great Awakening

In this short essay for Globalizations I wish to make some initial reflections in response to the present ‘triple conjuncture’ of global crises. This triple conjuncture is an interaction among three spheres or vectors of global crises, together constituting a crisis of capitalist world order. The three spheres of the global crisis are: climate change and ecological breakdown; a systemic crisis of global capitalism and neoliberal economic globalization; and the current global pandemic of covid-19. The three spheres are deeply interrelated and now rapidly interacting. Their combined effects will bring radical systemic transformation.

Globalizations, Editorial April 2020

Growth in the docks: ports, metabolic flows and socio-environmental impacts

Shipping carries virtually all internationally traded goods. Major commercial ports are fully integrated into transnational production and distribution systems, enabling the circulation of massive flows of energy and materials in the global economy. Port activity and development are usually associated with positive socio-economic effects, such as increased GDP and employment, but the industry’s continuous expansion produces adverse outcomes including air and water pollution, the destruction of marine and coastal environments, waterfront congestion, health risks, and labor issues. In its quest to marry economic growth and environmental sustainability in the maritime industries, proponents of the newly coined blue growth paradigm assume the negative impacts of ports and shipping to be fixable mostly through technological innovation. This paper questions the validity of the premise that the unlimited growth of the port and shipping industries is compatible with environmental sustainability and analyses the feasibility of technological improvements to offset the sector’s associated negative impacts. Based on insights from ecological economics and political ecology, ports can be described as power-laden assemblages of spaces, flows, and actors, which produce unequally distributed socio-ecological benefits and burdens at multiple scales. Focusing on the case of the Port of Barcelona, this study argues that the continuous expansion of port activity increases seldom accounted-for negative socio-environmental impacts, acquiring an uneconomic character for port cities and regions. In contrast, de-growth is presented as a radical sustainability alternative to ocean-based growth paradigms. The paper concludes by discussing its prospective ‘blue’ articulation in the context of maritime transportation while offering some avenues for future research and policymaking.

Sustainability Science, vol. 15, 2020

Ecological macroeconomics in the open economy: Sustainability, unequal exchange and policy coordination in a center-periphery model

This article introduces a novel (environmental) interpretation of a “Keynesian coordination game” and develops four potential scenarios to remaining within a global carbon emissions constraint. With inspiration from research on “ecologically unequal exchange” (EUE), we demonstrate the drawbacks of present “green growth” strategies by considering how pollution- and resource-intensive industries are distributed unevenly in the world economy, with large and increasing negative impacts on the periphery. The situation may only be exacerbated if the reduction of emissions in the center is based on shifting heavy industries and extractive enterprises to low-cost producers in the periphery. In this way, existing research likely overemphasizes the capacity of “green” investment policy to achieve sustainable outcomes. Our scenarios show that achieving global sustainability and improving global equity will require an impressive level of coordination between the center and periphery, as well as a significant reduction in the rate of growth (“degrowth”) in the center.

Ecological Economics, vol. 172, June 2020

Tourism, Degrowth, and the COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis shows what degrowth in the global tourism industry could look like. But it would need much more concerted planning to address the social impacts of this transition.

Trade governance will make or break the Green New Deal. How the GND could, should, must redefine “protectionism” and transform international trade

“A climate policy must change the way that the global economy works if it is to be successful, but if a policy is effective enough to disrupt global trade, it will violate global trade rules.”

Sold Futures? The Global Availability of Metals and Economic Growth at the Peripheries: Distribution and Regulation in a Degrowth Perspective

Abstract 

In recent years, the strategic role certain metals play is seen as central to the
geopolitics promulgated by state agents in the North. While a switch to renewable energy
and an increase in energy efficiency might be instrumental to reducing dependence on
fossil energy, it increases dependence on metals. This paper starts from an analysis of
the likely availability of metals in the near future and then proceeds to investigate political
concerns raised by considering the geological fundamentals of social development at the
peripheries of the capitalist world-system. The inequality of metal stocks, future metal
requirements and the ensuing political challenges are investigated, taking copper as an
example. The final section is dedicated to the discussion of regulatory challenges in view
of multiple constraints on metal extraction. This section also highlights the preconditions
of a socially legitimate transition to a renewable energy system in the coming period of
socio-ecological transformation.

Authors keywords: crisis, resources, peak, copper, development

This is not an atlas: a global collection of counter-cartographies

“Maps articulate statements that are shaped by social relations, discourses and practices, but these statements also influence them in turn. Hence, maps (and atlases) are always political. “In this interplay between facts and perception, the cartographer is both witness and actor. […] In order to create, or, more accurately: to invent, “his worlds”, he finally arrives at a subtle mixture of the world as it is, and the world he desires” (Rekacewicz 2006). Thus, many of the maps presented in this volume are full of “ifs”, “buts” and question marks but also of desired worlds.”
(from the Editorial)

Disarray in global governance and climate change chaos

Scientists warn that human activity in the Anthropocene is causing the transgression of several planetary boundaries. The population/environment/development equation has become insoluble. This paper reviews the trajectory of climate change and discusses the shortcomings of ongoing efforts to address it. It analyzes the current crisis in global governance, fostered by widespread disenchantment with globalization, and reflects on the risks that the resulting political imbroglio presents for our environmental future. Global responses are ineffective due to crumbling multilaterism and the continuing promotion of unsustainable economic growth based on consumerism. Discontent with the consequences of globalization has destabilized national governance and, in the process, further corroded prospects for effective global governance in facing symbiotic social, political and environmental crises. Frustration with globalization is providing media populists a platform from which to attract voters with naive schemes that highlight climate change denial. Potential pathways and obstacles for multilateralism in efforts to resolve the current crisis are blurred. Blind faith in technology, negationism, and the pervasiveness of the consumer culture further hamper awareness raising. Unfortunately, voters, institutions and policies may only adjust when the intensification of climate disasters forces a sea change in outlook.

Brazilian Journal of Population Studies, Vol. 36, pp. 1-30, 2019

Digitalisierung – Das Labor der Träume und Alpträume

Kapitel aus dem Buch “Auf Kosten Anderer? – Wie die imperiale Lebensweise ein gutes Leben für alle verhindert” vom I.L.A.Kollektiv.

Einführung: Wer kennt ihn nicht? Den Drang ›online zu gehen‹, um Teil der digitalen Welt zu werden und nichts von dem zu verpassen, was dort vor sich geht. Heute ist jeder vierte Mensch auf der Welt bei Facebook registriert. Jeden Tag werden über 150 Millionen Skype-Gespräche geführt, 800 Millionen Tweets abgesetzt und über 4 Milliarden Suchanfragen bei Google eingegeben.
#welcometothedigitalworld

From degrowth to de-globalisation

Introduction: THE rise of far-right globalisation criticism requires a new role for the degrowth movement. ‘Progressive de-globalisation’ could be the counter-project that is urgently needed.
After the German and Austrian elections, it becomes clear once more that the rise of the new far-right is not a temporary phenomenon. Neither the difficult Brexit negotiations nor the missteps of Donald Trump are stopping new nationalism’s upward trend, as one could have hoped. Consequently, Yannis Varoufakis diagnosed the long-term emergence of a nationalist international: nationalist and far-right authoritarian leaders, parties, movements, NGOs and media that are gaining ground and interconnect on a global scale. They bring about what left-wing mass movements and parties were not able or willing to do in the ten years since the financial crisis: they formulate an alternative to the discredited ideology of neo-liberalism. A strong narrative of national empowerment, paired with religious, racist, anti-feminist and anti-ecological resentments is becoming a serious challenger of neoliberalism’s TINA principle (‘There Is No Alternative’). Although the new far-right questions only some aspects of neoliberal economic policy and radicalises it in other aspects, it nevertheless acts as an ideological countermovement to the neoliberal and post-democratic political model.

Mit Bildung die Welt verändern? Globales Lernen für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung

Beim Umbau unserer Gesellschaft in Richtung eines nachhaltigen Lebens kommt der transformativen Bildung eine Schlüsselrolle zu. Im Buch werden dazu folgende Fragen untersucht: Was genau kann Globales Lernen für soziale Transformationsprozessen leisten und was nicht? Welche Faktoren bestimmen die Schritte vom Wissen zum Handeln? Und wie verhält sich das Veränderungsinteresse der Bildungsakteure zur Freiheit der Lernenden und zur prinzipiellen Offenheit von Bildungsprozessen?

Globales Lernen soll auf dynamische Prozesse innerhalb der sich ständig verändernden Weltgesellschaft vorbereiten. Wie man an den internationalen Fluchtbewegungen sieht und an Reaktionen in den Gesellschaften der nördlichen Hemisphäre, verläuft dies keineswegs konfliktfrei.

Auf Veränderungen und Herausforderungen vorbereitet zu sein, muss auch bedeuten, politische Entwicklungen kritisch und unter Berücksichtigung der Interessen globaler Akteure und von gesellschaftlichen Machtverhältnissen zu betrachten.

Das Buch zeigt auf, dass es bei der lernenden Erschließung zentraler Fragen von Macht und Herrschaft immer auch um komplexe Hintergründe geht, die mit historischen Entwicklungen, kulturellen Prägungen, politisch-ökonomischen Interessenlagen und auch gesellschaftlichen Alternativen zu tun haben. Auf der konzeptionellen Ebene von Lernangeboten ist eine selbstreflexive Auseinandersetzung mit diesen Aspekten auch deshalb von hoher Wichtigkeit, weil immer, unbewusst oder intentional, normative Positionen vermittelt, eine bestimmte Geschichtsschreibung tradiert und ggf. gegenwärtige Herrschaftsverhältnisse stabilisiert werden. Theoretische Prämissen, politische Grundannahmen und Positionen transparent zu machen, auch für die Beteiligten offenzulegen oder in kritischer Auseinandersetzung zu dekonstruieren, ist wichtiger Bestandteil Globalen Lernens.
(Beschreibung des Verlags)

Inhaltsverzeichnis

ISBN: 978-3-8474-2053-8

What are the degrowth implications for long-distance trade?

Speech by Filka Sekulova at the Degrowth Conference 2016 in Budapest